On Monday, January 3rd, 2022, Bridgeport City Council approved a tax abatement for the next phase in the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment plan which includes 400 high-end apartment units, a hotel, and retail storefronts. The proposed tax agreement allows for a two-year construction period and an additional year to occupy the units. With the agreement Bridgeport would receive $23,900 in taxes for those three years the apartments are being built/leased, then $1.26 million in year four, and then, in years five through 10, the payments would increase by 2 percent, reaching $1.47 million. “What this project is going to do is create a market that’s not here in Bridgeport,” said Councilman Matthew McCarthy, a contracts committee co-chairman. “It’s going to create something where other developers are going to come in and develop around the city and lenders OK giving money. If we build it, they will come.” (as quoted in CTPost)
Previous development phases included a Bass Pro Shops, Chipotle, and Starbucks on the I-95 side of Steelpointe Harbor in late 2015, followed by the addition of Bridgeport Harbor Marina, and then in 2019, Boca Oyster Bar, both located along the new public boardwalk. In addition to these new constructions, the Steelpointe developer, Bridgeport Landing Development (BLD) has also retrofitted the old Carpenter Steel and Derektor Shipyard buildings to include new tenants Bridgeport Boatworks, Hornblower Group, & North Sails. The addition of these international businesses not only looks good for Bridgeport on paper, but also adds new jobs to the local communities and additional tax bases to the city. “The Christoph family, from my point of view, represents all that is good about who we are and what we believe in as a society,” said John Torres, executive director of Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders. “They invest in people and they invest in our future.” (as quoted in CT Post)
In June 2021, Building Neighborhoods Together opened their newest affordable housing complex, West Liberty Commons, which BLD contributed $500,000 towards the 45-unit building. Another BNT affordable housing complex is currently being developed on East Main Street and will add another 44 units to Bridgeport, putting BLD ahead of their 10% affordable housing requirement. “They have been steadfast,” said Deborah Sims, an East End activist. “We have a lot of people that come to the East End and promise stuff, but Steelpointe really helps us with our development. They are not your typical developers; they are caring and compassionate. They care about people and care about the community.” (as quoted on CTPublic.org)
BLD officials say a byproduct of the construction projects is increased work for minority contractors who must be hired to fulfill City mandatory regulations. Also, BLD continues to work in Bridgeport neighborhoods including within the East End community, addressing the needs of an underserved urban neighborhood. Another partner of BLD is Ashlar Construction, who has completed the foundation and has started erecting the steel skeleton for Honey Locust Square. This project will add a much-needed grocery store, library, and new store fronts to the food baren area of Bridgeport. Located a few blocks away this project is poised to help revitalize the East End neighborhood, the area Anthony Stewart, owner of Ashlar Construction, grew up in, and has now returned to ‘give back’ to his community. BLD is providing $1.4 million of funding towards the construction costs of that project.
“Steelpointe is a major development and has provided local jobs and real opportunities to minority-owned businesses,” said Diana Washington, vice president of the Southern Connecticut Black Chamber of Commerce. “The project has really improved our image and reputation statewide. People now come to Bridgeport and enjoy our many attractions and restaurants.” (as quoted in CTPost)